Kobe Bryant, the "Black Mamba"

Kobe Bean Bryant, American Professional Basketball player. Five-time NBA champion

On January 2020, around 10am, our hearts were nearly crushed by the news that Kobe Bryant 41 and Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, only13 years old, we're among the 9 lives that were claimed due to a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. When the news was first released, many of us couldn't believe it--- No, not Kobe! There aren’t any words that could describe the feeling that many of us felt. Though we may have never met Kobe, we all felt a part of his journey and now his legacy.

Everything negative-pressure, challenges-is an opportunity for me to rise” -Kobe

Kobe not only had a genuine love for basketball but a love for people. He was an amazing leader, teacher, father, husband, son, and so much more.

Kobe states: “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.”

Kobe had a passionate desire to propel himself into opportunities by making his workout “The dream”. Many athletes thought that the luxuries and rich life was living “The dream", but not Kobe. Kobe’s definition of living the dream, was in his 530am workouts. During offseason when other players took breaks, Kobe would be lacing up his sneakers to do sprints: 100’s, 200’s, or the 400 meter workouts. Kobe practiced more and trained harder than anyone else. There are many stories about how Kobe was soaked in sweat at 5am every morning. He did this even at the height of his career: All-Star, Olympian, and a NBA champion. His dedication to work ethics was literally insane! Kobe was special because of his drive. He didn’t want to settle for mediocre or just getting by; he wanted to be better than anything, and anyone who’s ever done it. Kobe wasn’t perfect, and many of us have witnessed his imperfections, but that never stopped him from pushing beyond the mark.

“Heroes come and go, but legends are forever" -Kobe

Kobe was not only a legend, but he was a cultural icon. Legends are honored for their accomplishments whereas icons repeatedly set the bar for what is possible. Kobe never settled for his past accomplishments, he continually pushed to be the best in everything he set his heart to. He even won an Oscar for an animated short film entitled, “Dear Basketball”. Because of Kobe, NBA basketball players are not looked at as just some men who run up and down the court, dribbling and scoring hoops, but as much more. Kobe helped instill that potential for greatness exists in each and every one of us, for it may not come with fame or fortune, but it will come from knowing that you weren’t afraid to dedicate yourself to accomplish your desires.

Kobe states: “We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be.”

“When you have family, you have everything”

Kobe truly honored his family. He constantly revealed his undying love for his wife Vanessa and his beautiful daughters, Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri. Like all families, there will be conflicts, but as dreary as those times may have been, Kobe’s willingness to resolve those issues were the same efforts he put forth in his athletic career. Kobe not only professed his love, but he invested himself in their lives. He began coaching Gigi's basketball team "The Mambas" and teaching the outstanding fundamentals that he exercised during his career. Kobe took great pride in being a part of his family’s growth and development.

Even during one of the darkest days of Kobe’s family life, he states: “I love my wife with all my heart. She’s my backbone.”

The bond that the Bryant’s shared was incomparable. It was special and unique. Their mutual competitiveness of “we are going to succeed” aided them during difficult times.

“It pains us not only because of what Kobe did, but because of all he was going to be”

Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you, until we meet again...Kobe will forever be remembered as the greatest to ever do it. We love you; we miss you, and will continue striving for greatness, the “Mamba” way.

Tim Dunn

@idunndada | Twitter | Facebook

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